My first lesson about the value of silence came as a young mother of young children. During those years, I was like most young mothers, searching for a moment to hear my own thoughts. It seemed like back then those moments were hard to come by and I had to actually learn how to carve them out of the day for my own sanity and the safety of the entire family. LOL. I am just kidding. I hope you understand what I am saying. Honestly though, I did learn that I had to set aside the time I needed because I was the adult, the mom. So I learned, slowly. I am happy to say that eventually I taught my children to do so as well. During the day we would have a time when we turned everything off. No tv…no video games…no talking. Coloring or reading books were the best options, but it was QUIET time. Those moments were important and yet I don’t think I really had the full revelation as to why. Back then it was an important discipline because of natural reasons…but I have learned that there is a spiritual aspect to silence that may be even more important.
A huge part of my learning included reading books about silence and solitude. At that time in my life it was like a cold glass of water to my thirsty soul. In silence, I discovered the things that most occupied my mind. It was chaotic and that is putting it mildly. As a stay at home mom, I was always thinking of the next thing that I had to do. This pattern of thinking made it difficult for me to experience the peace and grace that I knew was available for me in Christ. However, the more I carved out time for silence and solitude, the more I was able to enter into a place of His peace and presence. After much practice, it became part of my praying. I wouldn’t simply spend time not speaking but being “fully present “ and silent in prayer-no words-no thoughts-just listening. Listening is the spiritual aspect of silence as prayer.
I learned to listen and hear God more when I started spending time in silence. Yes, I had to be diligent to take thoughts captive and keep my focused attention on Him. Interestingly, hearing wasn’t the only fruit of silence. His Presence was the most precious fruit. This presence isn’t the presence that comes from congregational worship. This presence is a deep abiding knowing of His nearness, an awareness and consciousness. It is discovering that He is always VERY near. The secret place is always available because Jesus is the Door that makes His throne room available and His throne is right in my midst…in the center of my being.
So when I come to the Father through Jesus and am just silent, He is the main event. It’s not always about my needs or requests or intercession. In silence, He is the One I have come for and He knows that I have come to just be with Him. No agenda. No pressing in. No work. I am just turning my love and attention toward Him. I don’t even come for His manifested presence because I know He is there by faith. I am abiding from within and becoming His habitation. When His manifested presence does come I am physically embraced by His love.
In some Christian circles it is called centering prayer or silent prayer. More recently, it has also become known as soaking or prophetic soaking if music or scriptural decrees are used. Regardless of the terminology or methodology, my experience has been that silence is more than golden. It is a spiritual discipline that has helped me discover deeper intimacy with the Father. It is now an essential part of my prayer life and I have grown in my stillness. I don’t struggle to quiet my mind as much and I can enter in even if there is noise all around. Many of my most profound experiences with the Father have come through this simple discipline.
Here are a few scripture references about waiting silently before the LORD.
Here are a few books that helped me along my journey into silence.
- Experiencing God Through Prayer by Madame Guyon
- Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton
- Breathe: Finding Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent
- Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life by Keri Wyatt Kent
- Rest: Living In Sabbath Simplicity by Keri Wyatt Kent (I haven’t read this one but believe that God intends for us to enjoy Sabbath rest and I do enjoy most of this authors books).
We all have an invitation to come to Him in this most simple way as His child all because of Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Enter in.